Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Our 10 remaining pairs tell personal stories from their most memorable years, through dance.  I think this feature is one of the better ideas the producers have had.  The celebrities often forget about steps and simply dance what they feel.  It can make for some poignant performances.

Rob and Cheryl commemorate the death of Rob's father, by dancing a Foxtrot to Fly Me to the Moon.  Rob has an understated charm that comes from his basic shyness.  He's still a little stiff, particularly for Foxtrot.  But he is getting the steps in the right order and he is putting on a performance.  He really seems to be enjoying what he's doing.  It wasn't a great Foxtrot, but it was credible.  I enjoyed the performance.  Rob seemed relaxed and comfortable, and there was a sophisticated quality to some of the movement.  I liked his posture and the way he provided the frame for Cheryl.  They have a nice chemistry and Rob is gaining confidence every week.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.  Well done.

Chynna and Tony commemorate the year that her group Wilson Phillips wrote and released their hit song Hold On, which prompted Chynna to get sober, by dancing a Rumba to Hold On.  She is so attractive to me and I'll tell you why...she reminds me of Pam.  This a great style for Chynna.  Her lines are gorgeous.  There is so much mature passion.  I liked the choreography because it was a combination of pose and dance.  I don't like too much posing in a Rumba.  I felt joy in this performance.  I thought her movement was sexy and seductive, and also elegant and sophisticated.  I love that she told the entire story from self-realization through celebration of pulling yourself up.  Judges say 8,9,9 for a total of 26.  Outstanding! 

Chaz and Lacey commemorate this year, which he says is the happiest he has ever been, by dancing a Rumba to Laugh at Me from Sonny and Cher.  This is a much easier style for him to dance because it doesn't require him to move quite as much.  All he really has to do is provide the frame for Lacey and make sure he focuses on precise footwork which drives the hips.  Oh, and keep the movement flowing.  Unfortunately this wasn't a great dance.  There were moments when he did get his feet organized properly, but there were more moments when he didn't get it right.  The dancing was a choppy and clunky.  Chaz wasn't able to smoothly connect the movements.  Judges say 6s across for a total of 18.  That's a good score for the performance, but it's likely to be the bottom score of the night.

Kristin and Mark commemorate the year she graduated from high school and decided to pursue a career in entertainment, by dancing a Samba to Beyonce.  I keep waiting for her to really reach with those legsses and emphasize the movements.  I thought she looked really tentative in this dance.  She managed the wiggles and waggles and hip shakes well enough.  But I wanted her to really embrace the party dance.  Maybe I'm expecting a little bit too much from her in the third week, but I think she's got more in her.  She should have confidence in what Mark is giving her to dance, and really work on her lines and extensions.  I think she can do the more difficult stuff, and she needs to believe she can.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.  Don't get me wrong.  I think she did really well, but I just thing she can be special.

Carson and Anna commemorate the premier of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which allowed Carson to be himself and have success in his own skin, by dancing a Tango to It's My Life.  He attached this dance from note one.  The drama of Tango suits him.  His posture is very good and he is managing the technique very well.  He is light on his feet and he is dancing with such confidence.  That was outstanding and completely unexpected.  He got to be exactly who he is, which is exactly the story he was trying to tell.  There was strength and arrogance in the choreography and he emphasized each movement.  He put together a complete package, which included technique and personality and performance.  Very impressive.  Well done Anna for some inspired choreography.  Judges say 8,7,8 for a total of 23.  Come on Len!  That deserved 8s across.  Tango is definitely Carson's dance.

JR and Karina commemorate the year he was severely wounded in Iraq, by dancing a Rumba to If You're Reading This.  That can't be an easy story to tell.  It can take a lifetime for many vets to speak about it.  I don't care about technique for this dance...that was a perfect moment.  JR continues to be a strong lead.  His hips did exactly what they should do.  The movement flowed from start to finish.  There was a soft and poignant romance in the dancing.  And of course you won't find a more emotional story to tell.  That is reliving something intensely personal in front of millions who can't possibly understand it.  It was a profound moment.  For me, there's nothing to criticize here.  Well done Karina for putting that dance together for JR to interpret.  Judges say 9,8,9 for a total of 26.  I didn't expect a perfect score, but it was a perfect performance in my eyes.

Nancy and Tristan commemorate the frightening birth and illness of her twins, which nearly resulted in the death of her daughter, by dancing a Waltz to Moon River, which is the first song she sang to the babies.  Every celebrity should get a chance to waltz.  She seems a little too stiff with her arms.  She should be making lovely round shapes.  Part of that is coming from her posture...she needs to pull her shoulders back and strengthen her carriage.  And then she has to remember to relax her hands and let the music flow out the ends of her fingers.  She does seem to be enjoying the dance.  She was calm and quiet.  The dance had a soft quality that reminded me that no matter what her public persona, she is a mom who sees every day with her kids as a gift.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.  Well done my dear.

Ricki and Derek commemorate surviving divorce and the loss of her home to fire last year to meet her new husband, by dancing a Rumba to Gravity.  The story in this Rumba was very well told through the movement.  She was lost in it.  The dance had an ethereal beauty to it.  This was some of Derek's best work in terms of putting the emotion of the story into each step.  It was sensual without being overly sexual.  I love the connection Ricki and Derek have made.  Their friendship is clearly evident in the way they work in rehearsal, and that translates to the ballroom floor in the performance.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.  Yeah.  Her technique was outstanding.  She is able to do what Derek asks of her, and that means he can step up the difficulty and they can both focus on emphasizing the little details that make a complete performance.

Hope and Maks commemorate coming up short in the final of the 2011 World Cup, by dancing a Cha Cha Cha to Tonight.  She looks great in that dress.  This song and the choreography suit her powerful legs this week.  I think Maks has figured out how to make dances around the type of person she is, rather than ask her to fit into something she's not.  She struggled a little toward the end of the dance, but this was a good effort for her.  I could see her let loose and have fun with it.  Cha Cha Cha is cheeky...and she captured that flavor very well.  I think this was her best performance.  She's having to fight the natural athlete in her to find her softer, more feminine side.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.  I don't know that it was 8s across, but I enjoyed the performance.

David and Kym commemorate this last year as he overcame the collapse of his marriage and substance abuse, by dancing a Rumba to Oooh Child.  That was actually a pretty good dance.  You could see how hard he worked this week to control the movement and relax.  He did a great job of keeping the flow of the dance smoothly progressing through each step.  Everything was connected.  They made some great lines, and David finished off every extension.  He led Kym through the steps and was a very honest lead.  He focused on what he was doing and slowed down.  Most importantly, he didn't look like he was working so hard.  It was a very vulnerable performance, and a very confident one.  That was a huge step forward in terms of technique and performance.  I enjoyed the dance.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.  That's well deserved.

Here's our leader board:

27 Ricki and Derek
26 JR and Karina
26 Chynna and Tony
24 David and Kym
24 Kristin and Mark
24 Hope and Maks
24 Rob and Cheryl
23 Carson and Anna
21 Nancy and Tristan
18 Chaz and Lacey

Great show tonight, just as I thought it might be.  We enjoyed all of the performances, some more than others.  There were some really good ones.  We're going to stick with our favorite three celebrities so far - JR, Ricki, and Chynna. 

Tune in tonight for results...and a very special Macy's Stars of Dance featuring Len Goodman and celebrating the Twist.  And don't forget to check back here tomorrow for my encores and results recap.

Later gang!

Reason 31:  Because everyone in the world deserves to feel the joy of freedom, and to express that joy in the way that seems best to them.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I cried through JR's. . .

  1. Jamie says:

    What's with Cranky Pants. JR and Carson were the highlights of the night for two different reasons. One with tears and one with joy. Can't ask for more than that from a show.

  1. Between the Yankees and Music On The Couch, I did not see the show at all...but I feel like I did now.

    And guess what? TRAV'S THOUGHTS was on twitter! Yup Jamie sent a tweet out with a link to here

    and you said you would not tweet! LOL

  1. jennifer says:

    I just watched a recap of JR and Karina's dance. After crying my eyes out, I came straight here, to THE best Dancing with the Stars recap blogger. Just wanted to throw out there that I thought that dance was incredible.

    Have a wonderful week, Travis!

  1. I have to believe that David is still struggling with his demons. His mannerisms after the dance and during the judges scores just looked like someone still having issues with alcohol. I do hope he gets his life turned around. He is a gifted entertainer.
    I see Chaz and Nancy as potential bottom two.
    I know, It's Tuesday, and I haven't watched the results yet.